Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Sox Appeal

Did Sherlock Holmes inspire Nevada's phantom cattle thief ?

(Cowboy Image via Wikipedia )

In the 1920s when several head of cattle started to regularly disappear from the Utah Construction Company Ranch in Elko, Nevada, cattlemen were naturally keen to discover the reason for the missing cattle. On a couple of occassions, butchered remains were discovered about a mile from where the animals had disappeared. Suspecting rustlers, the cowmen looked for signs of human footprints but there were only the indentations of cow hoofs.

(Hoof Print Image via )

Determined to solve the mystery a couple of cowboys resolved to watch the cattle more closely. One afternoon after a pair of cows went missing they saddled up and followed the cows’ tracks into a nearby clearing. Eventually they discovered the cattle were being led away on foot by a small time criminal called J.R. “Crazy Tex” Hazelwood. They gave chase and Crazy Tex made off but he soon stumbled and fell down. To the cowboys’ surprise Hazelwood was wearing homemade boots mounted on two boards with two cow hoofs attached to each sole. Mystery solved.

(Prohibition Image via pinterest )

Tex was an erratic and unlikable fellow well known to the locals and often lived rough on the land. He was literally unemployable and made a meagre living petty pilfering. Caught red handed he was eventually arrested and served a couple of years in the State Penitentiary . Unremorseful of his crimes he openly bragged about how he perfected the cow walk. With his cow hoof boots he had practiced for hours walking like a cow perfecting the length of stride to such an extent it fooled experienced trackers. For more than six months he had stolen cattle wearing his special cow shoes then pick out a likely looking cows, slip a rope around their neck and lead them off the ranch. After release he returned to northeast Nevada and remained a nuisance for several more years. J.R. “Crazy Tex” Hazelwood, died in 1953 aged 72, when his feuding neighbour shot him with a shotgun. J.R. “Crazy Tex” Hazelwoods cow boots are on display at the Northeastern Nevada Museum in Elko, NV

(Cattle Image via pinterest )

Some have speculated the cleaver rouse used by J.R. “Crazy Tex” Hazelwood cow shoes come from a Sherlock Holmes short story, “The Adventure of the Priory School” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Published as one of 13 stories in the The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1904) , it described how horse thieves were able to deceive authorities by shoeing the horses with special shoes shaped like cow's hooves. This speculation has however, no verification

(Speakeasy Image via pinterest )

Bootleggers during Prohibition did hovere, employ similar tactics to trick those in pursuit. Again during the Second World War, members of the The Resistance and black marketeers were known to wear sabots (wooden clogs) with soles carved in such a way as to leave a trail suggesting the person went in the opposite direction.

(Video Courtesy:TAMU SA by Youtube Channel)

More Information
Cridland T Weird 2007 Las Vegas and Nevada : Your Alternative Travel Guide to Sin City and the Silver State Sterling Publishing Co Inc
“Shiners wear cow shoes” The Evening Independent - Google News Archive Search: The Independent St Petersberg Florida Saturday May 1922

Monday, April 05, 2021

My big toe hurts: It must be Easter !

( Hopping into Easter! Image via pinterest)

Easter has become a holiday filled with good food and wine and way too much chocolate. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant for the last two years family gatherings celebrate e occassion has been restricted with lockdowns. According to medical experts, Easter is also associated with attacks of gout and people should be careful not to overindulge. Gout describes an upset in purine (protein) metabolism which can result in deposits of small crystals in the joints which leaves them exquisitely painful. The resulting damage may painful osteoarthritis.

( Gout rat Image via pinterest )

Gout usually affects men between the ages of 40 and 50, women too can suffer from gouty attacks and both are caused by a build-up of uric acid, which crystallise. In women, the incidence increases after menopause and it is very rare in children and young adults. The incidence of gout increases when alcohol and certain foods, including processed meats, organs such as kidney and liver, yeast, anchovies, sardines and some vegetables are consumed in quantity.

( Gout Image via pinterest )

A common site for crystal deposits is in the big toe joint which renders the main pivot point of the foot inoperable due to the tremendous pain experienced. Many people who develop gout have a family history but other diseases may increase the risk. These include diabetes mellitus, obesity, kidney disease, and sickle cell anemia.

( Red Wine and Chocolate Image via pinterest )

Alcohol adversely interferes with the removal of uric acid from the body as can other factors including, a purine rich diet (e.g., cream sauces, red meat, sardines, liver, scallops), medications which interfere with remove of uric acid from the body and exposure to lead in the environment. Demographic surveys indicate a significant rise in reported cases of gout. Painful symptoms are often sudden and come on, overnight. The effected parts such as the great toe is swollen and tender with touching or moving the big toe intensely painful. Frequently gout sufferers will report extreme discomfort even from a bed sheet. If left untreated, gout can damage joints and cause osteoarthisis.

( OA& Gout Image via )

People with gout have elevated blood levels of uric acid, but this condition may not always be present during an acute attack. A simple set of tests and physical examination will confirm diagnosis. Treatments involve reducing the levels of uric acid in the joints and the physician may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) to treat the pain. Until recently treatment for acute gout consisted of colchicine which was effective early in the attack. However, colchicine can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other side effects and now most physicians prefer to use anti-inflammatories. However, they too have side effects for some. Pharmaceutical care also depends on co-morbidities and polypharmacy. Small doses of NSAIDs, colchicine, or allopurinol may prevent continued accumulation of uric acid in the joints and further attacks. Avoiding alcohol and rich foods that are high in purine are also recommended to normalise blood uric acid levels. What works well for one person may not work as well for another, so decisions about when to start treatment and what drugs to use have to be tailored by the physician, and depend on kidney function and other factors. According to experts it is possible in almost all cases to successfully treat gout.

( arthritis Image via iTV media group )

Pseudogout (calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease) is a type of arthritis where calcium crystals accumulate in joints capsules causing severe localised pain and swelling, similar to gout. Pseudogout is a condition which is often mistaken for gout and diagnosis is important if treatment is to be effective. The incidence of pseudo gout increases with age and diagnosis depends on analysis of the crystal found in affected joint. Treatment usually involves prescribed anti-inflammatory medications. Unlike gout which tends to affect the feet and ankle, pseudogout affects the knees, wrists, shoulders, ankles, elbows or attacks can last for days or weeks. The cause of calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease remains unknown. The condition sometimes runs in families and hence genetic factors are suspected of contributing to the disorder. According to medical text severely underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), excess iron storage (hemochromatosis), an overactive parathyroid gland, and other causes of excessive calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia) may contribute to the development of pseudogout. In some people, attacks of pseudogout may develop following joint surgery or other surgery. Because many older people have calcium crystal deposits in their joints, any kind of insult to the joint can trigger the release of the calcium crystals, which then induce a painful inflammatory response. Unfortunately, there is no treatment to dissolve the crystal deposits but symptoms may be relieved and the progress of the condition slowed down by small doses of prescribed anti-inflammatories.

(Video Courtesy: Johns Hopkins Rheumatology by Youtube Channel)

This post does not constitute actual medical advice on gout and pseudo-gout but only information about the subject. If you suffer from any of the symptoms described, or wish to know more about the subject then please consult your family physician. Stay well and stay safe.

Reviewed 05/04/2021

Friday, April 02, 2021

Easter Feet: Washing and kissing and Maundy Money

(Washing feet Image via pinterest )

There is more reference to feet in the Holy Scriptures than any other part of the body and throughout the New Testament heavy emphasis is placed on the strength of feet to spread the gospel. So it is no surprise foot washing is seen as important. However, foot washing is a religious rite observed by several faiths including, Islam (Wudu), Buddhism and Sikhism. The ancient Greeks also considered it a blasphemy to enter a temple without the feet being washed.

(Moses and the burning bush Image via pinterest )

The first thing God said to Moses was ‘take off your shoes’

"Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Exodus 3: 5, 6.

( Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet Image via pinterest)

The significance of bare feet to Judo Christian believers is profound and they are not alone for other religions also hold bare feet in high regard. Why, remains a mystery. Certainly in Biblical Times shoes and sandals made from animal skins were difficult to clean and in agricultural societies likely to become caked in dirt. For most, walking was the most likely transport and shoes were rarely worn inside the home, so removing footwear and washing feet was both practical and signified the end of the working day, or end of a journey. The emblems of filth were left outside homes and temples but bare feet also required to be purified and this responsibility fell usually to the lowest house servant. Having the feet bathed signified the status of an honoured guest and foot washing was considered as an honour or service and became a common Jewish custom at formal banquets. Oils and creams were also involved but tended to be more for the privileged. Foot washing took place either on arrival or before the feast. In the New Testament there are two accounts of the feet of Jesus being washed by women. In John 12 1-3, "Mary" sister of Lazarus washes the feet of Jesus. This takes place at a feast and Mary takes perfumed oil (nardin), and greases the feet of Christ before wiping them dry with her hair. In the second account, Luke 7:36-48, unnamed women (thought to be a prostitute) washes his feet after he dines in the house of Simon, a Pharisee. She bathes the feet in perfumed oil, and, while she is washing his feet she weeps with her tears rolling onto the feet. She then dries his feet with her hair. Bathing feet in oil was also taken as a prospect of wealth. Most experts recognize this humble action was a deliberate act of humility and mark of respect.

( Catholicism Image via pinterest )

The Christian practice of foot washing on Maundy (Holy) Thursday, the day before Good Friday, is a connection to the Last Supper (Feast of the Passover). Jesus dramatically subverted the symbolism by washing his disciple's feet and explained his action as a measure of humility and brotherhood. Despite their protestation he reminds his devotees of the significance of foot washing. (John 13:1-17)

14. "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
15. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
16. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his
master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.
17. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."

Theologians believe Christ's action demonstrated service rather than status represented greatness in the Kingdom of Heaven. This action prepared his disciples (and their converts) to walk in the path of righteousness.

Christians adopted the Hebrew foot washing ceremony and in some religious faiths this is still considered as one of the three ordinances (sacrament) i.e. baptism, the Lord's Supper, and foot washing. Foot washing or Pedilavium (ped ‘foot’ and lavo ‘I wash’) is an act of renewal of baptism and commitment to living God's way of life. Foot washing is still practiced in one form or other throughout the world on the Thursday before Good Friday.

( Pontiff washes feet Image via Pulse Nigeria )

By the late 12th century, the Pope washed the feet of twelve sub-deacons after his Mass and of thirteen poor men after his dinner. By the thirteenth century special corridors were built in many churches for the sole (excuse the pun) purpose of foot washing. This year Pope Francis has visited a refugee centre in Castelnuovo di Porto, outside Rome to wash and kiss the feet of Muslim, Orthodox, Hindu and Catholic refugees. Vatican rules had long called for only men to participate in the ritual, and past popes and many priests traditionally performed it on 12 Catholic men, recalling Jesus' 12 apostles and further cementing the doctrine of an all-male priesthood. However Pope Francis broke with tradition in an effort to support better understanding and more tolerance for fellow humans.

( Maundy Thursday Royal washing of beggars feet Image via )

Ceremonial foot washing was also followed by most European monarchs and involved the King washing and drying the feet of 12 poor parishioners. Ceremonial foot washing usually involved marking the toe with blood or oil to symbolize either consecration or the cleansing of the entire person. This type of ritual was considered important before entering God's house. In the UK the ceremony was often accompanied with the distribution of alms in the form of food and drink, clothes and money. Until 1689 monarchs personally washed the feet of poor people. In the reign of William & Mary (1689-1702), foot washing was replaced by specially minted coins, called Maunday Money.

(Maundy Money coins Image via The Royal Mint )

The term Maundy is an old English term, derived through Middle English, and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" ("A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you"). John 13:34 . In 1822, specially minted coins,started to be made and were handed to the poor by the reigning monarch. The specially minted coinage is worth much more than the coin's face value. To this day the custom is still celebrated on the day before Good Friday. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic the Maundy Money Ceremonies for 2020 Had been planned for St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, but cancelled[71] 2021 were cancelled.

(Video Courtesy: The Royal Family by Youtube Channel)

Proskunew was an ancient Persian custom and involves kneeling and putting the face to the ground. Sometimes kissing the ground is part of the custom. It too was considered an act of submission, respect, gratitude, supplication, neediness, and humility and was used on all sorts of occasions. The custom is thought to have originated as a non-verbal greeting where men of equal rank would kiss each other on the lips. An inferior kissed his superior on the cheeks, and where one was much less noble rank than the other, he fell to the ground in homage. It became ritualized at the oriental courts, and according to rank, visitors would prostrate themselves, kneel in front of, bow for, or blow a kiss to the king. In days gone by there may have been practical reasons for blowing a kiss as halitosis was thought to be common. When Alexander the Great (327) spread his empire to incorporate others lands he naturally took his countrymen (now Iran) to serve at his court. As ruler supreme he commanded all subjects showed respect in his presence and that of his representatives. Conquered people like the Greeks despised the thought of prostration, bowing or kneeling, to anyone other than their Gods. However, proskynesis continued to be practiced at the courts of his successors and remnants remain today. We still bow for kings and queens. By the time of the Old Testament the custom had passed in judicial behaviour and when an accused was brought before the judge, he lay prostate. If found guilty, the judge would place his foot on their neck. If innocent the judge would stoop over and lift their face with his hand. To the Hebrew lifting the face was a declaration of innocence in a judicial, proceeding. When Muslims bow towards Mecca this is another reference to proskynesis and by contrast the posture of early Christian worship was standing.

( Curtsey Board Image via pinterest )

According to Brasch (1989), kissing the feet was a gesture of homage and deference, far removed from its erotic roots. Millions of pilgrims with loving pressure have worn down the feet of the statue of Saint Peter in Rome with their lips. At the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire it was the custom for the faithful to kiss the right hand of the Papal Father. In the eighth century, a rather passionate woman took liberties and according to legend, the Pope cut off his hand in disgust.

( Feet of St Peter Image via Reach the World )

The custom of kissing the Pope’s right foot was adapted as more appropriate. Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) had kings and churchmen kiss his feet. Today the act of homage involves kissing the Pontiff’s right shoe. Lips are aimed at the cross-depicted on the shoe. This is either taken as a tribute to his authority or the simulation of servitude.

(Video Courtesy: The Telegraph by Youtube Channel)


(Maundy Thursday Image via New Indian Expresss )

The 2020 service was supposed to be take place at St George's Chapel in Windsor but has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak in the UK. Pope Francis did not do the traditional feet-washing ceremony on Holy Thursday 2020. In 2021 some foot washing ceromonies did take place in adherence to new Covid-19 protocols.

Reviewed 2/04/2021

Hot Cross Buns, Easter Bunnies and Egg Rolling

( Ostara Image via pinterest )

Easter takes its name from Eostre the Anglo-Saxon goddess of dawn. This is the reason we, in the Northern Hemisphere, associate Easter with east or sunrise. Easter was the celebration of Spring and the beginning of the growing season. Followers of Eostre sacrificed oxen in her honour and baked buns with horns decorating the top. Small loaves on leavened bread scored with a cross were also found in ancient Egyptian tombs. The cross appears to have had no symbolic significance, or at least if it did, it has been lost in time.

(Priapus Image via pinterest )

In ancient Greece Priapus was a rustic fertility god, who protected livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia. Later Priapus became a popular figure in Roman erotic art and Latin literature. The Romans celebrated Priapus with a festival which coincided with the beginning of Spring. With the advent of Christianity it was thought better the celebrate Christ with a cross on the bun.

( Hot Cross Buns Image via pinterest )

In France people continued to eat phallic shaped bread and cakes called ‘fateaux’ and according to the 19th century French historian, Jacques Antoine Dulaure, these were still being baked for Easter in the town of Saintonge.

( Colhões de São Gonçalo Image via pinterest )

Fateaux was also carried in the procession of the The Feast of Corpus Christi at St. Jean d'Angely, France.

( Engaged musician Image via Jane Austen's World )

No one can be sure of the origin of the word bun but many believe it comes from the Old French word bugne, meaning, and “a swelling caused by a blow” The same origins for the word bunion. The word bun did make its appearance in the English language about 1370. The hot cross buns were understood to make its first appearance in the 18th century (Poor Robin’s Almanac for 1733). The first recorded mention was a street cry common to bakers.

The cry became a children’s rhyme
“Hot cross-buns! Hot cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny, hot cross-buns!
If you have no daughters,
Pray give them to your sons!
One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns!

One a penny, two a penny would imply there were two types of bun on sale.

( Cute bunnies Image via pinterest )

To Pagans rabbits and hares symbolized life and fertility because there was a plentiful source of food. During the spring months both became a focal reminder of procreation. By the 1600s the rabbit had become more associated with Easter festivities and was a custom known and practiced in Germany. Until the 18th century the term ‘cony’ (pronounced cunny) was used to describe adult rabbits, and rabbit was the preferred name for young rabbits. “Cunny” was also a commonly used Old English term for female genitalia and so cunny had to become bunny.

( Easter Bunny Image via Wikipedia )

The origins of Easter eggs come from the custom of the German settlers to Pennsylvania during the 1700s. The children believed if they were good then the Osterhase (pronounced in the dialect of the region Oschter Haws) (Easter Bunny) would lay a nest of coloured eggs for them. There does not appear to be any attempt to infer the rabbits laid the eggs but the symbolic combination of eggs for fertility; and rabbits for procreation was enough. In legend, the Easter Bunny brought baskets full of coloured eggs to the homes of good children on the night before Easter. The Easter Bunny would either put the baskets in a designated place or hide them somewhere in the house for the children to find when they woke up in the morning. A visit from the Easter Bunny or was the equivelent to the arrival of Christkindl (Kris Kindle) on Christmas Eve. In rural areas children built nests for the magical bird often using their hats or bonnets (as in Easter Bonnet). Parents fearing the loss of expensive clothing sought out the nests and instead played out the process in reverse by hiding the eggs so their children could take pleasure in finding them. The nests became Easter Baskets as the custom spread throughout the 18th century. All of course was credited to the mythical Easter Bunny. Many of the old myths were described in the writings of 19th century fairy tales which became very popular.

( Easter eggs Image via Clipart Library )

The first edible Easter Bunnies were made in Germany during the early 1800s and were made of pastry and sugar. No one can be sure why the eggs had to be coloured but certain colours such as red and green were symbolic of life and growth respectively. Eggs were not eaten during Lent (the fast kept by devotees prior to Easter) so it may be eating brightly coloured eggs may have had some celebratory significance to Catholics. It has also been suggested indulging in egg eating throughout Lent may have been a Protestant preoccupation.

( St. Gregory the Great Image via pinterest )

Pope Gregory the Great (540 – 604) ordered his missionaries to use old religious sites and festivals and absorb them into Christian rituals where possible. According to Grimm and his followers, the Christian celebration of the Resurrection of Christ was ideally suited to be merged with the Pagan feast of Ēostre and many of the traditions were adopted into the Christian festivities. The egg was a symbol of the rebirth of the earth in Pagan celebrations of spring and the early Christians adopted it as a symbol of the rebirth of man at Easter. Rolling the egg may also be symbolic of the rolling away of the rock from Jesus Christ’s tomb before his resurrection.

( Easter egg hunt Image via The Whitehouse History )

In many European countries, children traditionally rolled eggs down hillsides at Easter ("pace-egging"). The eggs were traditionally wrapped in onion skins and boiled to give them a mottled gold appearance (today they are painted) and the children competed to see who could roll their egg the furthest. There is an old Lancashire legend that says the broken eggshells should be carefully crushed afterwards or they will be stolen and used as boats by witches.

( Pace Egg Play Image via pinterest )

The eggs were eaten on Easter Sunday or given out to pace-eggers. Pace-eggers were fantastically dressed characters who processed through the streets singing traditional pace-egging songs and collecting money as a tribute before performing traditional mumming plays. Many of these traditions were taken to the New World by European settlers.

( Egg Dance by John Collier (ARC) Image via pinterest )

One other popular egg game or < a href="">egg dance or hop dates from the 5th century. A hundred eggs laid on the ground or floor covered with sand and the goal was to dance among them damaging as few as possible. Young couples, holding hands began the dance and if they finished without breaking an egg they were betrothed, and not even an obdurate parent could oppose the marriage. The hornpipe was one of dances performed as an egg dance. Sometimes it was danced blindfolded.

( The Egg Dance (1557) Pieter Aertsen Image via wikipedia )

Another variation of egg dancing was to roll an egg out of a bowl while keeping within a circle drawn by chalk and then flip the bowl to cover the egg. This had to be done with the feet without touching the other objects placed on the floor.

(Video Courtesy: BeforeAndAfterTV by Youtube Channel)

Reviewed 02/04/2021

Thursday, April 01, 2021

All Fools' Day : A brief history

(April Fools' Day Image via pinterest )

The origins of April Fools' Day (All Fools' Day) remain uncertain. Some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it stemmed from the adoption of a new calendar.

( Pope Gregory XIII Image via pinterest )

Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, ordered a new calendar to replace the old Julian Calendar. This was called the Gregorian Calendar which started on the 1st January (New Year's Day). The theory is not everyone adopted the reformed calendar and refused to accept the new date and continued to celebrate New Year's Day on April 1. The popular believe is followers of the Gregorian Calendar lampooned the traditionalists and send them on "fool's errands." Historically it is unlikely the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar had this effect since the King of France Charles IX in 1564 had decreed the beginning of the year should start on the 1st of January.

( Sun Image via pinterest )

Although there is little historical evidence to support the Gregorian Calendar theory it still prevails but other historians believe the origins of April Fool’s day relates to the ancient belief of reversing order. This predates Christianity and is more likely to be associated with celebration of the spring equinox which occurs about March 25th. Many ancient cultures celebrated New Year's Day on or around April 1.

( Magna Mater / Cybele Image via pinterest )

The Romans had a festival day which they called Hilaria to honor Cybele (the great mother) and was held on March 25 involving much rejoicing. From the fourth or fifth century Christians celebrated the Feast of Annunciation the on the 25th of March to commemorate the visit of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, during which he informed her that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In Europe, prior to the introduction of Gregorian Calendar, March 25th was taken as the beginning of the New Year which corresponded to the beginning of the growing season.

(Magna Mater / Cybele Image via pinterest )

It was held to celebrate the resurrection of Attis (son of the Great Mother Cybele) and involved much merriment and wearing disguises. Attis auto amputated his genitals in a fit of folly and many believe he was turned into a pine tree.

( Holi Colors Image via pinterest )

In India, Hindus celebrate the feast of Holi with the chief amusement befooling others by sending them on fruitless errands.

(Shushan Purim Image via pinterest )

The Jewish calendar had Purim, one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination. It is celebrated sometime in March.

( Druids Image via Yahoo News )

Northern Europeans observed an ancient festival to honour Lud (or Lod), a Celtic god of humour. According to tradition Lud allowed ordinary Celts to play tricks on their revered druids

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The church systematically attempted to Christianise the celebration by locating its origin somewhere in Biblical traditions. One version attributed the day’s origin to Noah's mistake of sending a dove out from the ark before the flood waters subsided (thereby sending the dove on a fool's errand). A second story told the day commemorates the time when Jesus was sent from Pilate to Herod and back again. The phrase "Sending a man from Pilate to Herod" (an old term for sending someone on a fool's errand) was often pointed to as proof of this origin theory.

( Twelth Night Image via pinterest )

By the Middle Ages, particularly in France, the Feast of Fools (The Festus Fatuous) subverted the rule of social order reversed and power, dignity and impunity were briefly conferred on those in a subordinate position. The central idea seems always to have been a brief social revolution, reminiscent of the Roman Kalends of January, although there is no continuity between the two celebrations. Rooted customs took centuries to eradicate and the Christian Church systematically incorporated many pagan festivals into the Christian calendar. Most experts believe the Christian Feast of Fools had subdeacons occupy the roles normally fulfilled by higher clergy, and the 'fools' symbolised orthodox biblical ideas of humility (e.g. the last being first) and becoming a 'fool for Christ.'

"We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised."
(1 Corinthians 4:10)
The church, of course, did its best to discourage this holiday and the Feast of Fools was eventually forbidden in 1431, although it did continue in lesser forms up until the 17th century. Following the suppression of the Feast of Fools, merrymakers focused their attention on Mardi Gras and Carnival.

(Victor Hugo Image via pinterest )

Victor Hugo recreated a picturesque account of a Feast of Fools in his novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831), in which Quasimodo serves as Pope of Fools.

(Video Courtesy: Warner Bros. by Youtube Channel)

The 1st of April was observed in Great Britain by the ancients as a general festival but it took until the beginning of the 18th century before making of April-fools was a common custom. In England, a fool was called a gob, gawby or gobby. The Scots called the custom "hunting the gowk," (cuckoo), and April-fools were "April-gowks. "

( Common Cockoo Image via Wikipedia )

The cuckoo lays her eggs in other bird’s nests and has no nest of her own. The chick hatches and proceeds to push her adopted siblings out of the nest until they are the only remaining chick. The sound of the cuckoo heralds the beginning of Spring. To be sent to find a cuckoo’s nest would be a fool’s errand.

(Video Courtesy: MySwitzerland by Youtube Channel)

As all pranksters know April Fools jokes must only be made before midday otherwise the joke is on you.

( poisson d'avril Image via beyoutiful yoga )

In France the victim of an April Fool is called a poisson d'avril. Whilst this may have an astrological explanation i.e. in April the sun quits the zodiacal sign of the fish. A more likely explanation is young fish emerge at this time and are easily caught. Poisson d’avril would relate to naivety and French children tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying "Poisson d'avril" when the prank is discovered.

Reviewed 01/04/2021

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Callus or callous?

(Caluses Image via Dab Shoe Clinic )

Probably never crossed your mind the grammatical difference between 'Callus' and 'Callous', The terms are used synonymously to described localised hyperkeratosis, but should they be used in this way is the burning question on the lips of many. The origins of both words derive from the Latin word 'callum' meaning, hard skin, and are the masculine form. Middle English, from the Old French word 'cailleux', meaning hard skin. They first appeared, as a variant, in the English language in and around the 16th century, just as corn cutters were becoming popular in Europe and Britain.

(Diabetic Foot Image via pinterest )

During the pox epidemics of the Middle Ages physicians were at a loss to treat open sores common to syphilis (large pox), small pox and Hansen's Disease. Lack of understanding meant many doctors refused to treat patients suffering from venereal diseases and hence this sector of the population sought alternative medicine and occult remedies. Many claims corresponded to disease remission as the disease process ran its course to secondary and tertiary stages. Among this ground swell the corn cutter emerged. During this time the Quack Act (England)was introduced which allowed non-medical persons to be legally able to treat open sores with almost anything and everything that made the patient better. Scathingly medical practitioners referred to these alternative persons as 'quacks' and hence the Quack Act.

(A Quack and his Assistant advertising their Wares in a Village Image via pineartamerica )

The word "quack" derives from the archaic word "quacksalver", of Dutch origin (spelled kwakzalver in contemporary Dutch), literally meaning "hawker of salve". In the Middle Ages the word quack meant "shouting". The quacksalvers sold their wares on the market shouting in a loud voice.

(bone callus Image via )

Callus, here is a singular noun, used to describe an area of thickened skin or area of bony tissue formed during the healing of a fractured bone. The plural version is calluses. Used as a verb, to callus means to produce or cause thickening of the tissues. Inflected forms of the intransitive verb would be callused, callusing, and calluses.

( Callous Indifference Image via Medium )

The word 'callous,' used as an adjective means unfeeling, indifferent, and insensitiv. It may also be used as a verb (with or without object) meaning to make or become hard or callous.

Here is an example of the correct use of both words.

"As a practitoner, years of dealing with self centered, self opinionated, patients with self inflicted injuries has left me callous, with the thought of the corns and callus on the soles of their feet."

Reviewed 28/03/2021